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Gracious - Gracious ! CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.73 | 182 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars All these years of being aware of GRACIOUS and the two albums they released in the early 1970s, it was only a matter of time before I snatched the 2-for-1 CD reissue deal that BGO Records released back in 1995, and I have not regretted it! This review here, of course, is for their first album. This band consisted of a bunch of former Catholic school boys who lived in the affluent stockbroker belt of Surrey (to the south of London, this was also the same county GENESIS resided in). The band had toured with KING CRIMSON, and their keyboardist Martin Kitcat was impressed enough with those guys that he bought himself a Mellotron as well. They signed up to Vertigo and released this incredible album in 1970 (the album also had an American release on Capitol Records, but with a totally cover). The rest of the band consited of vocalist Paul Davis (not the Paul Davis of "I Go Crazy Fame"), guitarist Alan Cowderoy, bassist Tim Wheatley, and drummer Robert Lipson.

This is an album that often received the Mellotron hype. Whatever you do, don't buy in to it, sure he uses is, but on only three cuts, "Heaven", and only a small amount on "Hell" and "Dreaming". The electric piano, piano, and harpsichord are the more dominant instrument. This is suprisingly complex music for 1970. The album opens with "Introduction", with some GENTLE GIANT-like vocal harmonies, but is actually the most straighforward piece on the album. I really like the guitar solo in the middle. "Heaven" features some great Mellotron work, and I like the acoustic part of the song, which is totally 1970, before you hear a chorus repeating "Do you have a clean mind?" over and over. "Hell" is far more like KING CRIMSON, far more sinister sounding piece. Also some ragtime and classical (specifiaclly OFFENBACH's "Can-Can") pops up, showing the band had a sense of humor. These three songs have religious themes (no surprise because of the band's Catholic school upbringings). "Fugue in 'D' Minor" is basically a classically-oriented piece on harpsichord and guitar. "Dreaming" is the longest piece and is incredible! It goes through several movements, with some great use of guitar and electric piano, as well as the occasional dreamy vocals I can't get enough of. The myth that seems to be is that this album is not too far off from the Moody Blues as far as complexity is concerned, you need to listen to this album, and that myth is actually myth. Essential album, in my book!

Proghead | 5/5 |


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